Israel: From Aspiration to Regional Power
Paper presentations by Israeli scholars from Ben-Gurion University, moderated by their colleagues
Scholars from the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion University present papers focused on two tracks: track one addresses the ideational aspect of the emergence of Israel as a modern state, and track two examines the relationships between Israel and the other countries in the Middle East.
Nimrod Hurvitz presents “They Had a Dream: Transmutations of the Kibbutz”
Dror Zeevi presents “Israel’s Regional Aspirations: From a Light unto the Nations to a Villa in the Jungle”
Moderator: Alon Fragman
Yoram Meital presents “Israel and the Arab Transformation”
Haggai Ram presents “A Vanguard of the Civilized World against Barbarism? Israel and its ‘Oriental’ Vicinity”
Moderator: Iris Agmon
Iris Agmon, visiting scholar, is a social historian of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Middle East. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on socio-legal Ottoman history, family history and historiography. Her research focuses on late Ottoman and early Mandate Palestine. She is the author of Family & Court: Legal Culture and Modernity in Late Ottoman Palestine (Syracuse, 2006). She was a Greenberg Scholar-in Residence at Skidmore College in 2012.
Alon Fragman, visiting scholar, is the coordinator of Arabic studies in the Department of Middle East Studies, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His book Tiger Paper (2013) includes 47 short stories by the famous Syrian writer Zakaria Tamer, translated into Hebrew, with a preface about his writing and perception of Syrian society in the 20th century. Another field of interest of Fragman is Arabic acquisition, mainly among native Hebrew speakers from a linguistic point of view.
Nimrod Hurvitz, visiting scholar, received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1994 and currently teaches at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. He has written extensively about Islamic religious movements. His book The Formation of Hanbalism has been translated into Arabic. Between 2004 and 2006 he was a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School and a Greenberg Scholar-in-Residence at Skidmore College. He has lectured on the Middle East and contributes op-eds to leading Israeli newspapers such as Haaretz (English), Yediot Ahronot, Maariv and Makor Rishon, as well as HNN (History News Network). He is also a contributor to the website "CanThink."
Yoram Meital, visiting scholar, is an associate professor at the Department of Middle East Studies and chairperson of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies & Diplomacy, both at Ben-Gurion University. He was a fellow in the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard University Law School (2011–12), and since then has been a member in the Working Group on Arab Transformative Movements (Harvard, Center for Middle East Studies). Among his publications are Peace in Tatters: Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East (2007); Egypt's Struggle for Peace: Continuity and Change, 1967–1977 (1997); and Jewish Life and Sites in Egypt (1995). His current research focuses on the making of hegemony and resistance in Egypt since the 1950s. with special emphasis on exceptional courts. Meital has been quoted regularly about Middle East affairs in the media, and his views and op-ed were published by various papers and media outlets, including Ha'aretz, Yediot Ahronot and al-Jazeera. He was a Greenberg Scholar-in Residence at Skidmore College in 2008.
Haggai Ram, visiting scholar, is an associate professor at the Department of Middle East Studies, BGU. He teaches and writes about secularism, religion, colonialism and popular culture in the modern Middle East, with particular emphasis on Iran and Israel-Palestine. His publications include Myth and Mobilization in Revolutionary Iran (American University Press, 1994); Reading Iran in Israel: Self and Other, Religion and Modernity (Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2006); and Iranophobia: The Logics of an Israeli Obsession (Stanford University Press, 2009). Ram’s current research focuses on the social history of hashish in Palestine-Israel from the 1920s to the present. He was a Greenberg Scholar-in Residence at Skidmore College in 2006.
Dror Ze’evi, visiting scholar, teaches Ottoman and Turkish history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He received his Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University in 1992 and after post-doctoral studies at Princeton University he joined the faculty of BGU, where he helped found the Department of Middle East Studies and chaired it from 1995 to 1998 and again from 2002 to 2004. He was also among the 14 founders of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy and chaired it from its foundation in 1997 to 2002. His research and teaching interests include Ottoman and modern Middle Eastern society and culture. His book on Ottoman Jerusalem, An Ottoman Century: The District of Jerusalem in the 1600s, was published by SUNY Press in 1996 and translated into Hebrew and Turkish. Another book, Producing Desire: Changing Sexual Discourse in the Ottoman Middle East, 1500–1900, was published in 2006 by the University of California Press, and a Turkish translation was published recently. Zeevi’s current research focuses on the Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, 1894–1924. In recent years he was a Greenberg Scholar-in-Residence at Skidmore College (2004), senior research fellow at Brandeis University and senior fellow at Koç University's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations.